a step toward mindfulness: part one

mind·ful·ness

noun

  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
    “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. (Google definition)

My official word for this year is “focus.” But as I approach my twenty-fifth birthday and I think about what I want the next twenty-five years to look like, that word is “mindful.” It goes hand in hand with focusing. I don’t have any specific goals this year, although I do want to read more books than last year (I super failed on this goal for 2018) and get a new pet (*wink wink in husband’s direction*). But my main goal is to be present.

I don’t want to master multitasking; in fact, I want to do the opposite. I want to master doing one thing at a time. I want to master eating dinner without my phone, enjoying a moment or trip without taking pictures, and reading a book while just sitting quietly. I want to be fully present for every moment.

Trust me, it is tough. For the past several years, my phone has always been in my pocket or in my hand. Social media is a tap away. I was also given two fantastic cameras in 2018. But I think we often spend more time documenting the good times than actually living the good times. Sharing wonderful moments has its place. Photography is a gift to commemorate beautiful times. But for me personally, I’m trying to think about that less, or with intentionality.

In my journey to be more mindful, more focused this year, I’ve made a couple changes. Done a couple things differently. (And by “I” I mean “we” because I don’t make life changes without a tall bearded man’s support.) I want to share them with you, the reader, because 1) I hope it will be a help to you, and 2) accountability! This will be the first of several blog posts about positive changes we’ve made since the start of 2019.

 

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We bought a dining room table.

We didn’t have one in our apartment. Although we enjoyed vegging out on the couch while eating dinner every night, I was so looking forward to getting a table when we bought a house. (Read: I was so impatient.) We finally purchased one from IKEA, and honestly had a blast assembling it together! But the table didn’t just make a fun evening and then become a space-filler in our dining room. We use it. THAT is how it has changed us.

We love sitting down across from each other every night to talk about our days while we eat! We’ve also been trying to sit down and eat breakfast together every morning before we leave for work. It is amazing! These moments are beneficial for mental health and relationships. (Don’t believe me? Read about eating breakfast together here and an article about eating dinner together here. And here is the video that prompted me to want to sit down and eat breakfast at the table.) Apart from studies, Joshua and I have found that sitting down together, facing each other, while eating and conversing have been advantageous for our relationship and our overall attitudes.

Starting our day off with breakfast together always puts me in a better mood. I am most definitely not a morning person, but when I wake up I’m looking forward to sitting down with my sweet man before we go to our separate places of work. The way I start my morning affects the rest of my day. When I’m sluggish and dragging because I overslept (or am just a grump), that usually affects how the rest of my day goes. But when my mornings are more positive and flow better (which we will cover in future posts), my day generally follows suit.

If you don’t already sit down and eat breakfast with a loved one, what if you started doing that? What benefits would you see?

I would love for you to follow along with these blog posts. I don’t want you to become like me, but I do want you to reap the benefits of living simply and intentionally. I am realizing that a simple life is, yes, a life of less; but with that it becomes a life of more. More rest, more memories, more sleep, more time. So much more.

I hope you’ll try one or more of these small changes, and that you too will realize how much these small steps can positively affect your life and help you live more presently and mindfully.

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